External Adjustment

45 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2004 Last revised: 19 Aug 2010

See all articles by Maurice Obstfeld

Maurice Obstfeld

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2004

Abstract

Gross stocks of foreign assets have increased rapidly relative to national outputs since 1990, and the short-run capital gains and losses on those assets can amount to significant fractions of GDP. These fluctuations in asset values render the national income and product account measure of the current account balance increasingly inadequate as a summary of the change in a country's net foreign assets. Nonetheless, unusually large current account imbalances, especially deficits, should remain high on policymakers' list of concerns, even for the richer and less credit-constrained countries. Extreme imbalances signal the need for large and perhaps abrupt real exchange rate changes in the future, changes that might have undesired political and financial consequences given the incompleteness of domestic and international asset markets. Furthermore, of the two sources of the change in net foreign assets -- the current account and the capital gain on the net foreign asset position -- the former is better understood and more amenable to policy influence. Systematic government attempts to manipulate international asset values in order to change the net foreign asset position could have a destabilizing effect on market expectations.

Suggested Citation

Obstfeld, Maurice, External Adjustment (October 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10843. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=609223

Maurice Obstfeld (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-643-9646 (Phone)
510-642-6615 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://emlab.berkeley.edu/users/obstfeld/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
52
Abstract Views
624
rank
381,435
PlumX Metrics